10 Workout Motivation Tips to Keep You on Track and in Shape

Florian Wüest, a trainer and fitness center manager, offers a stark message to anyone looking to start up a new fitness routine. Based on his experience, about 90% of people quit the gym within three months of signing up. Why do so many people fall off the fitness wagon? More importantly, how can you beat the odds and achieve your fitness goals? The answer is to focus on your workout motivation. While motivation naturally ebbs and flows over time, you must be mindful of what keeps you coming to the gym. With this in mind, here are 10 workout motivation tips that will show you how to get motivated to work out.

1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals

Want to transform your body completely or run a marathon? Those are great goals, but if you haven’t left the couch in a couple of months (ahem, or maybe a couple of years), it will be a long journey to reach these big milestones. That’s not to say you can’t get that enviable beach body or cross the marathon finish line eventually. However, to stay motivated in the short term, it’s important to focus on small, achievable goals.

You can create achievable goals by breaking your larger goals into smaller stepping stones. Instead of focusing on running a marathon, for example, how about setting your first goal to walk a mile without stopping? Thinking in feasible milestones will allow you to quickly rack up achievements and keep you progressing.

2. Start Small

It’s easy to put yourself through long, grinding workouts in the first few weeks after you’ve decided to make a big change in your life. But what happens when your initial enthusiasm begins to wane or life gets in the way? To maintain your motivation to work out, start small. Put together workouts that don’t feel intimidating. Be realistic about where you are in your fitness journey. Even if your first workout is to walk around the block, that’s still progress! After all, even just a minute of “brisk” movement can improve your health.

3. Eliminate the Excuses

Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’ve vowed to start working out more consistently. If you’ve stumbled in previous fitness attempts, take a good, hard, and honest look at what hurdles got in your way. How are you going to address those challenges this time around? If you don’t have an answer, then you’re not ready to start your new workout plan yet. Figure out our excuses and eliminate them.

Did you previously feel like you didn’t have enough time to work out? Schedule workout time on your calendar. Do you travel a lot for work? Consider purchasing resistance bands, which are each to pack and can help you get a great cardio or resistance workout.

4. Have Fun

If working out feels like absolute drudgery, how can you expect to stay motivated and stick with your fitness routine? It’s so much easier to hit the gym if you are actually looking forward to it. Think of ways to make your workout routine more fun. That can be as simple as building a great workout playlist or listening to your favorite podcasts while you hit the weights.

Don’t fall for the myth that exercise has to be boring, painful, or a chore. Find what you love. That might mean signing up for a new group workout class, trying a team sport, or switching out the treadmill for the swimming pool. You might even want to try a virtual reality fitness game.

5. Work Out with Others

One great way to inject some fun and camaraderie into your workout routine is to recruit a workout partner. Knowing that your workout buddy is waiting for you at the gym is a great motivator. A workout partner will also cheer you on and make sure you don’t skimp on your fitness. Working out with others helps build accountability and makes the workout experience more enjoyable. No wonder research shows that those with a workout partner work out longer!

Don’t have a workout buddy? How about trying a workout class instead? You’ll push yourself a little harder with everyone else exercising along with you. Taking group fitness classes will help you mix up your workout routine. Plus, you could even start making friends with your fellow classmates.

6. Reward Yourself

Workout motivation can begin to lag over time, which is why you need to give yourself something to look forward to consistently. That something? Rewards! Treat yourself after achieving your fitness goals. It can be as simple as rewarding yourself when you hit the gym three times a week or finally jog that first mile without stopping.

How should you reward yourself? That’s up to you, but some options to consider are:

  • Booking yourself a massage
  • Pampering yourself with a manicure (guys, too)
  • Giving yourself a lazy weekend day with no chores or expectations
  • Going out to eat with your friends or partners (just don’t go too crazy with the menu)
  • Slipping into a soothing bubble bath

7. Expect Setbacks

Don’t assume your fitness journey will be smooth sailing. Life doesn’t work that way. Maybe you’ll get sick, setting you back for a week or two. Perhaps a work project will steal your gym time for a full month. You can’t avoid every hurdle, but you can expect the unexpected. When a setback happens, accept it. Take the time you need to recover and recommit to your fitness goal. Remember, fitness is a journey. It can feel demoralizing to see your results slip; you can recover them as long as you keep trying.

8. Track Your Progress

How do you know if your fitness program is working? The answer is to track your progress from the very beginning. You can track your efforts using smart gadgets and fitness apps, but you don’t need the latest technology to see how you are doing. You can also track your progress the old fashion way by measuring different areas of your body with a tape measure or by performing a baseline workout when you start your fitness program. Each month, repeat your measurements and the baseline workout. You’ll start to see your measurements changing and improve your results on the workout.

Resist the temptation to use the bathroom scale as the arbiter of your fitness success. Your body weight can fluctuate throughout the day, week, or month for a number of reasons. In other words, your scale is not always reliable also because muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, a higher weight is not necessarily a bad thing.

9. Change Your Perspective

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just swallow a daily pill and be in great shape? Too often, we humans expect immediate and easy results. That’s not how health and fitness work, though. The journey to fitness isn’t a sprint. In fact, it isn’t even a marathon, because you can never cross a finish line and relax for the rest of your life. The fitness journey is never-ending. Even when you reach your goal, you’ll need to maintain the habits that got you there, and you might even want to try a new goal. (Ultra-marathon, anyone?)

The key is to change your perspective and see health and fitness as a lifestyle, not a short-term change. Instead of relying upon or expecting constant motivation, you must turn fitness into a habit where the motivation becomes intrinsic to who you are as a person. This is a challenging state-of-mind to reach. Start small and build your fitness habit over time.

10. Hire a Personal Trainer

It isn’t easy to stay on track with your fitness motivation, especially if you are juggling a busy life or don’t know how to get started. For some exercisers, a good option is to hand over accountability to a personal trainer. A personal trainer will help you identify your fitness goals, design a workout plan for you, and guide you through weekly workouts. You’ll get support, education, and the motivation to work out. After all, you’ve got financial skin in the game now.

How to get motivated to work out is one of the most difficult fitness questions to answer, because we are all motivated by different things. Our level of workout motivation can also change from week to week or even day to day. However, if you set reasonable goals, start small, and eliminate past excuses, you’ll be off to a great start. You can then keep your motivation high by adding fun into your fitness, working out with others, and rewarding yourself for meeting your fitness goals. Expecting setbacks, tracking your goals, and changing your perspective will help you turn fitness into a lifestyle. Finally, if you are still struggling with the motivation to work out despite all these workout motivation tips, hiring a personal trainer can keep you on track and supercharge your fitness results.

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